Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Ministry of reconciliation
St. Mathew 5: 21-26
When we turn on the news, look at our social media feeds, read the newspaper, listen to the radio, or even look at some entertainment media today, there are some themes in common: confusion, chaos, violence, disasters, and injustice, among many other issues and complexities. This statement is not meant to paint a dismal picture of the world, but to invite us into a deeper reflection on the contemporary world, and to ask ourselves what we can do to contribute to peace and reconciliation in a world where such terms have become more of an esoteric sound.
The selected passage is part of the Sermon on the Mount, whereby Jesus teaches the values of the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ reminder regarding reconciliation with one another coincides with the divine experience of peace. Without reconciliation, one cannot truly experience the peace Christ offers us. Without reconciliation, we are not able to meaningfully participate in the life, mission, ministry, and sacraments of the church. Without reconciliation, we will not be able to have a true worship experience.
In the Holy Qurbana, we are offering ourselves to the Lord, as a “living sacrifice, holy, pleasing, and acceptable to God.” (Rom.12:1) The experience of offering ourselves to God and partaking of the Holy Qurbana will be becoming formative and salvific when we have reconciled with one another.
As the faithful, we are called to live a sacramental life, whereby we are connected to the life, mission, ministry, and sacraments of the holy church, demonstrated through our faith, life and work. Without reconciling with others, we will not be able to have a meaningful reconciliation with God. Hence Jesus says, “leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (V.24).
The 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, which took place in 2021, designated the theme as: “Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.” The need for peace and reconciliation is not limited to our faith communities; it extends throughout the church, and to the world. This will become a tangible reality when the faithful of the holy church takes their mission and witness more seriously, and practice the true ways of Jesus. This enables us to be active participants in the ministry of reconciliation.
Yesterday, we began the first day of Great Lent (Valiya Nombu). Today, we celebrate Shubkono, the Service of Reconciliation. We seek forgiveness from God, and also one another, to prepare ourselves to experience a true lent. We belong to the holy church, the body of Christ. Let us make the love of Christ a present and tangible reality so that the world can experience true peace through Him, and reconcile with one another so that the kingdom of God may be experienced in more profound and meaningful ways. Amen.
O Triune God, give us the power to discern your presence and to genuinely communicate your peace to a world in violence and conflict. May your peace bring the world to reconciliation, so that we may fulfill our divine purpose as creation. Amen.
Thought of the day
The world can experience the peace of Christ through the genuine witness of the body of Christ, the church. What is our contribution to enabling the peace of Christ to be experienced by the world? How can we lead others to a life of reconciliation?
Rev. Dennis Abraham
Vicar, Austin MTC & San Antonio MTC.